Associate Professor Brajesh Singh
Associate Professor Brajesh Singh is an internationally recognised expert in the field of microbial ecology. His research interests encompass functional microbial ecology, climate change and environmental biotechnology with particular focus on the role of microbes in ecosystem function and environmental sustainability.
Functional Microbial Ecology
Our research is focussed on understanding the role of microbes in important ecosystem functions such as biogeochemical cycling and nutrient availability. Understanding the adaptability of microbes to environmental perturbations is important for maintenance of ecosystem function and long term sustainability. We are examining the response of microbes to various environmental stressors associated with land-use and management practices (Collaborators: Imperial College, London, University of Aberdeen, The John Hutton Institute, UK). We use a range of state-of-art biochemical, molecular and genomics approaches combined with in-situ process measurements to study the structural (bacteria, fungi and archaea) and functional (groups involved in C, N and S cycling) groups and their ecological niches (in collaboration with University of Glasgow, UK, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, University of Oklahoma, USA).
Our research focuses on understanding the responses of microbial communities to global change, with an emphasis on linking community structure with function at ecosystem levels. For example, we are investigating the contribution and mitigation of GHG emission due to microbial activity. To achieve this, we examine the effect of global changes on functional microbial groups (methane oxidisers, nitrogen fixers, nitrifiers and denitrifiers) and related processes (GHG emission). The data is then up-scaled to predict the net emission and mitigation of GHG due to global change at regional to national levels (Collaborators: Landcare Research, NZ; University of Exeter, UK). We are also investigating the impact of climate change and extreme weathers on interaction between above and belowground communities and its consequences for ecosystem functioning (Collaborators: Imperial College, UK; University of Bayreuth, Germany).
We have a strong interest in bioremediation of toxic compounds especially organophosphate (OP). Since 1999 we have collected a number of microbes which have capability to utilise and remove OP compounds from polluted environment. We are currently using metagenomic approaches to isolate novel genes/enzymes which can have future bioremedial and therapeutic usages. Other area of interest includes utilisation of uncultivable bacteria (Collaborators: Landcare Research, NZ; University of Hamburg, Germany) in mitigation of GHG (mainly methane) from landfills and farming industries.
Soil quality can influence land-use, productivity and long-term sustainability. Microbial communities and their activities are integral part of soil functioning. We have developed and applied approach to utilise microbial community and diversity as an effective tool in assessment of soil health/ quality (Collaborators: The James Hutton Institute, University of Canfield, Centre of Hydrology and Ecology, UK). A range of physiological, biochemical and molecular techniques to characterise microbial diversity are used for this purpose. We have developed a new molecular approach which can simultaneously characterise up to four different taxa (e.g. bacteria, fungi, archaea and rhizobia for soil, and bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae for water). Microbial data generated from these approaches are combined with chemical, physical and other biological properties to develop a risk-based analysis of environmental quality.
- Senior Editor: Biodegradation (Springer Publication) Since 2009.
- Editorial board member: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry since 2008.
- Editorial board member: Applied and Environmental Microbiology (American Society of Microbiology) since 2008.
Other Professional Responsibilities
- Member of NERC (National Environmental Research Council) Peer review College (equivalent to ARC college of experts) 2007-2011
- Invited member of BBSRC’s pool of experts (equivalent to ARC College of experts) 2009-2010.
- Building resilient and profitable grain cropping systems through improved knowledge of soil organic carbon fractions and their functionality
Partner/Funding Body: Grains Research Development Corporation
- Can ecological theory help to unravel microbial regulation of soil functions?
Co-Researcher: Professor Peter Reich
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
- International collaboration on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development; 2011-2016 (in collaboration with Imperial College, London, UK).
- Microbial control of green house gas emission; 2011-2013
- Acclimation of soil respiration in European soils; 2010-2013 (Collaborators: University of Exeter and University of Aberdeen, UK).
- Quantifying soil carbon stocks and dynamics following afforestation of agricultural lands with Pinus radiata, 2011 (Collaborator: NSW Primary Industries).
- Isolation of organopshophorus-degrading enzymes using metagenomics-SIP approach.
- Climate change effect on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
Abhilash PC, Powell JR, Singh HB, Singh BK, (2012), 'Plant-microbe interactions: Novel applications for exploitation in multipurpose remediation technologies', Trends in Biotechnology, vol.30, no.8, pp 416-420
Crawford JW, Deacon L, Grinev D, Harris JA, Ritz K, Singh BK, Young I, (2012) 'Microbial diversity affects self-organization of the soil-microbe system with consequences for function', Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol.9, no.71, pp 1302-1310
Elliott GN, Thomas N, MacRae M, Campbell CD, Ogden ID, Singh BK, (2012) 'Multiplex T-RFLP allows for increased target number and specificity: Detection of Salmonella enterica and six species of Listeria in a single test', PLoS ONE, vol.7, no.8, Article number e43672
Rayu S, Karpouzas DG, Singh BK, (2012) 'Emerging technologies in bioremediation: Constraints and opportunities', Biodegradation, vol.23, no.6, pp 917-926
Singh BK, Naidu R, (2012) 'Cleaning contaminated environment: A growing challenge', Editorial, Biodegradation, vol.23, no.6, pp 785-786
Smit E, Bakker PAHM, Bergmans H, Bloem J, Griffiths BS, Rutgers M, Sanvido O, Singh BK, Van Veen H, Wilhelm R, Glandorf DCM, (2012) 'General Surveillance of the soil ecosystem: An approach to monitoring unexpected adverse effects of GMO's', Ecological Indicators, vol.14, no.1, pp 107-113
Zyœko A, Sanguin H, Hayes A, Wardleworth L, Zeef LAH, Sim A, Paterson E, Singh BK, Kertesz MA, (2012) 'Transcriptional response of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to a phosphate-deficient Lolium perenne rhizosphere', Plant and Soil, vol.359, no.1-2, pp 25-44
Farmer J, Matthews R, Smith JU, Smith P, Singh BK, (2011) 'Assessing existing peatland models for their applicability for modelling greenhouse gas emissions from tropical peat soils', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol.3, no.5, pp 339-349
Jentsch A, Kreyling J, Elmer M, Gellesch E, Glaser B, Grant K, Hein R, Lara M, Mirzae H, Nadler SE, Nagy L, Otieno D, Pritsch K, Rascher U, Schädler M, Schloter M, Singh BK, Stadler J, Walter J, Wellstein C, Wöllecke J, Beierkuhnlein C, (2011) ‘Climate extremes initiate ecosystem regulating functions while maintaining productivity’, Journal of Ecology, vol.99, no.3, pp 689-702
Knapp CW, McCluskey SM, Singh BK, Campbell CD, Hudson G, Graham DW, (2011) 'Antibiotic resistance gene abundances correlate with metal and geochemical conditions in archived Scottish soils', PLoS ONE, vol.6, no.11, Article number e27300
Macdonald CA, Anderson IC, Bardgett RD, Singh BK, (2011) 'Role of nitrogen in carbon mitigation in forest ecosystems', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol.3, no.5, pp 303-310
Macdonald CA, Clark IM, Zhao F-J, Hirsch PR, Singh BK, McGrath SP, (2011) ‘Long-term impacts of zinc and copper enriched sewage sludge additions on bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in arable and grassland soils’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.43, no.5, pp 932-941
Nazaries L, Tate KR, Ross DJ, Singh J, Dando J, Baggs EM, Millard P, Murrell JC, Singh BK, (2011) 'Response of methanotroph communities to afforestation and reforestation in New Zealand', ISME Journal, vol.5, pp 1832-1836
Singh BK, (2011) ‘Funding studies of unpredictable’, Nature, vol.471, no.7340, pp 578-578
Singh BK, Tate K, Thomas N, Ross D, Tate K, Singh J, (2011) ‘Differential effect of afforestation on nitrogen-fixing and denitrifying communities and potential implications for nitrogen cycling’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.43, no.7, pp 1426-1433
Vinten AJA, Artz RRE, Thomas N, Potts JM, Avery L, Langan SJ, Watson H, Cook Y, Taylor C, Abel C, Reid E, Singh BK, (2011) ‘Comparison of microbial community assays for the assessment of stream biofilm ecology’, Journal of Microbiological Methods, vol.85, no.3, pp 190-198
Yao H, Gao Y, Nicol GW, Campbell CD, Prosser JI, Zhang L, Han W, Singh BK, (2011) ‘Links between ammonia oxidiser community structure, abundance and nitrification potential in acidic soils’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.77, no.13, pp 4618-4625
Singh BK, Bardgett RD, Smith P, Reay D, (2010) ‘ Microorganisms and climate change: feedbacks and mitigation options’, Nature Reviews Microbiology, vol.8, no.11, pp 779-790
Singh BK, Macdonald CA, (2010) ‘Drug from uncultivable microbes’, Drug Discovery Today, vol.15, nos.17-18, pp 792-799
Singh BK, (2010) ‘Climate change and human health: an environmental perspective’, Climate Research, vol.41, pp 41-44
Millard P, Singh BK, (2010) ‘Does grassland vegetation drive soil microbial diversity?’, Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystem, vol.88, no.2, pp 147-152
Singh BK, (2010) ‘Exploring microbial diversity for biotechnology’, Trends in Biotechnology, vol.28, no.3, pp 111-116
Singh BK, (2010) ‘Archaea in a hyper arid polar desert’, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA, vol.107, no.2, p E1-E1
Rousidoua C, Papadopouloua K, Zervakisb G, Singh BK, Ehaliotisd C, Karpouzasa DG, (2010) ‘Fractioned land application of diluted olive mill wastewater induces changes in the structure of the soil microbial community’, European Journal of Soil Biology, vol.46, no.1, pp 34-40
Gebert J, Singh BK, Pan Y, Bodrossy L, (2009) ‘Activity and structure of methanotrophic communities in landfill cover soils’, Environmental Microbiology Reports, vol.1, no.5, pp 414-423
Karpouzas DG, Rousidou C, Papadopoulou KK, Bekris F, Zervakis G, Singh BK, Ehaliotis C, (2009) ‘Effect of continuous olive mill wastewater applications, in the presence and absence of N fertilization, on the structure of the soil fungal community’, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.70, pp 56-69
Macdonald CA, Thomas N, Robinson L, Tate KR, Ross DJ, Dando J, Singh BK, (2009) ‘Physiological, biochemical and molecular responses of soil microbial community after afforestation of pastures with Pinus radiata’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.41, no.8, pp 1642-1651
Manage PM, Edwards C, Singh BK, Lawton LA, (2009) ‘Isolation and identification of novel microcystin-degrading bacteria’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.75, no.21, pp 6924-6928
Singh BK (2009) ‘Organophosphorus-degrading bacteria: ecology and industrial applications’, Nature Reviews Microbiology, vol.7, no.2, pp 156-164
Singh BK, Campbell C, Sorensen SJ, Zhou J, (2009) ‘Soil genomics is the way forward’, Nature Reviews Microbiology, vol.7, no.10, p 756
Singh BK, Dawson L, Macdonald C, Grime S, (2009) ‘Impact of biotic and abiotic interaction on soil microbial communities and functions: A field study’, Applied Soil Ecology, vol.41, no.3, pp 239-248. IF 2.12 [9/31]
Singh BK, Nunan N, Millard P, (2009) ‘Differential response of fungal and bacterial communities to sheep urine deposition in a grassland soil’, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.70, no.1, pp 109-117
Singh BK, Tate K, Ross D, Dando J, Singh J, Thomas N, Millard P, Murrell JC, (2009) ‘Soil methane oxidation and methanotroph responses to afforestation of pastures with Pinus radiata stands of different age’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.41, no.10, pp 2196-2205
Macdonald C, Campbell C, Bacon J, Singh BK, (2008) ‘Multiple profiling of soil microbial communities identifies potential genetic markers of metal-enriched sewage sludge’, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.65, no.3, pp 555-564
Singh BK, Nunan N, Ridgway KP, McNicol J, Young JPY, Daniell TJ, Prosser J, Millard P, (2008) ‘Relationship between assemblages of mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria on grass roots’, Environmental Microbiology, vol.10, no.2, pp 534-541
Schamalenberger A, Hodge S, Bryant A, Hawkesford MJ, Singh BK, Kertesz MA, (2008) ‘The role of Variovorax and other Commanadaceae in sulphur transformation by microbial wheat rhizosphere communities exposed to different sulphur fertilisation regimes’, Environmental Microbiology,vol.10, no.6, pp 1486-1500
Macdonald L, Singh BK, Thomas N, Brewer MJ, Campbell CD, Dawson LA, (2008) ‘Microbial DNA profiling by multiplex terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism for forensic comparison of soil and the influence of sample condition’, Journal of Applied Microbiology, vol.105, pp 813-821
Singh BK, Tate KR, Kapadia G, Hedley CB, Macdonald CA, Millard P, Murrell JC, (2007) ‘Effect of afforestation and reforestation of pastures on the activity and population dynamics of methanotrophic bacteria’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.73, no.16, pp 5153-5161
Tate K, Ross DJ, Saggar S, Hedley CB, Dando J, Singh BK, Lambie SM, (2007) ‘Methane uptake in soils from Pinus radiata plantations, a reverting shrubland and adjacent pastures: Effects of land-use change, and soil texture, water and mineral nitrogen’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.39, no.7, pp1437-1449
Singh BK, Tate KR, (2007) ‘Biochemical and molecular characterization of methanotrophs in soil from a pristine New Zealand beech forest’, FEMS Microbiology Letters. Vol.275, no.1, pp 87-97
Macdonald C, Singh BK, Campbell C, Horsewell J, Spier T, (2007) ‘Long-term exposure to Zn-spiked sewage sludge alters soil community structure’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.39, no.10, pp 2576-2586
Singh BK, Munro S, Potts J, Millard P, (2007) ‘Influence of grass species and soil type on rhizosphere microbial community structure in grassland soils’, Applied Soil Ecology, vol.36, nos.2-3, pp 147-155
Szubert M, Reiff C, Thorburn A, Singh BK, (2007) ‘REMA: A Computer-based mapping tool for analysis of restriction sites in multiple DNA sequence’, Journal of Microbiological Methods, vol.69, no.2, pp 411-413
Singh BK, Walker A, (2006) ‘Microbial degradation of organophosphorus compounds’, FEMS Microbiology Review, vol.30, no.3, pp 428-471
Karpouzas D, Singh BK, (2006) ‘Organophosphorus xenobiotics: microbial degradation, metabolic pathways and molecular basis’, Advances in Microbial Physiology, vol.51, no.1, pp 119-185
Singh BK, Walker A, Wright DJ, (2006) ‘Bioremedial potential of fenamiphos and chlorpyrifos degrading isolates: Influence of different environmental conditions’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.38, no.9, pp 2682-2693
Singh BK, Thomas N, (2006) ‘Multiplex-Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism’, Nature Protocols, vol.1, pp 2428-2433
Singh BK, Nazaries L, Munro S, Anderson I, Campbell C, (2006) ‘Use of multiplex terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism for rapid and simultaneous analysis of different components of the soil microbial community’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.72, no.11, pp 7278-7285
Nunan N, Singh BK, Reid E, Ord B, Papert A, Squire J, Prosser J, Wheatley R, McNicol J, Milard P, (2006) ‘Sheep-urine-induced changes in soil microbial community structure’, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.56, no.2, pp 310-320
Singh BK, Reid E, Ord B, Potts J, Milard P, (2006) ‘Investigating microbial community structure in soils by physiological, biochemical and molecular fingerprinting methods’, European Journal of Soil Sciences, vol.57, no.1, pp 72-82
Nunan N, Daniel TJ, Singh BK, Papert A, McNicol J, Prosser JI, (2005) ‘Links between plant and rhizoplane bacterial communities in grassland soils, characterized using molecular techniques’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.71, no.11, pp 6784-6792
Singh BK, (2005) ‘Microbial diversity: progress and important knowledge gaps’, American Society of Microbiology News, vol.71, pp 210-211.
Singh BK, Walker A, Wright DJ, (2005) ‘Cross-enhancement of accelerated biodegradation of organophosphate compounds in soils: dependence on structural similarity’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.37, no.9, pp 1675-1682
Karpouzas DG, Fotopoulou A, Menkissoglu-Spiroudi U, Singh BK, (2005) ‘Non-specific biodegradation of the organophosphorus pesticides, cadusafos and ethoprophos, by two bacterial isolates’, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol.53, no.3, pp369-378
Singh BK, Walker A, Morgan AW, Wright DJ, (2004) ‘Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by enterobacter strain B-14 and its use in bioremediation of contaminated soils’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.70, no.8, pp 4855-4863
Singh BK, Millard P, Whiteley A, Murrell JC, (2004) ‘Unravelling rhizosphere - microbial interactions: opportunities and limitations’, Trends in Microbiology, vol.12, no.8, pp 386-393
Singh BK, Walker A, Morgan AW, Wright DJ, (2003) ‘Effects of soil pH on the biodegradation of chlorpyrifos and isolation of a chlorpyrifos-degrading bacterium’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.69, no.9, pp 5198-5206
Singh BK, Walker A, Morgan AW, Wright DJ, (2003) ‘Role of soil pH in the development of enhanced biodegradation of fenamiphos’, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.69, no.12, pp 7035-7043
Singh BK, Walker A, Wright, DJ, (2002) ‘Degradation of chlorpyrifos, fenamiphos, and chlorothalonil alone and in combination and their effects on soil microbial activity’, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, vol.21, no.12, pp 2600-2605
Singh BK, Walker A, Wright, DJ, (2002) ‘Persistence of chlorpyrifos, fenamiphos, chlorothalonil and pendimethalin in soil and their effects on soil microbial characteristics’, Bulletin Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, vol.69, pp 181-188